NY Times Critic A.O. Scott Chooses His 10 Best Movies of 2010

December 16, 2010
Source: NY Times

Inside Job, Toy Story 3, Carlos

Ah yes, time to get into some Top 10 lists. One of the most prominent critics still (successfully) writing for a major newspaper nowadays is A.O. Scott of The New York Times, who just published his 10 Best Movies of 2010 list. Scott also names his Top 10 "trends" as part of a Cinematic State of Things recap, with various topics like: "We are all figments of Leonardo DiCaprio's imagination" and "Only a great director can make a great movie, but a good actor can make a bad or mediocre or not-quite-great movie much better." It's a wonderful reflective article overall (read it here), but first let's check out his 10 Best Movies of 2010.

1. Inside Job (Charles Ferguson) "The crisis of finance capitalism as a great crime story."

2. Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich) "The triumph of consumer capitalism as an epic love story."

3. Carlos (Olivier Assayas) "The failure of global revolution as farce, melodrama, erotic thriller and music video."

4. Somewhere (Sofia Coppola) "An eccentric, perfect poem about fame, loneliness and cross-generational need."

5. The Kids Are All Right (Lisa Cholodenko) "An eccentric, perfect comedy about love, betrayal and cross-generational confusion."

6. Greenberg (Noah Baumbach) "A deliberately imperfect comedy about an eccentric fleeing from love, running from betrayal and wallowing in cross-generational confusion."

7. 127 Hours (Danny Boyle) "It's all fun until someone loses an arm. And then, strangely enough, it's even more fun."

8. Last Train Home (Lixin Fan) "The future of global capitalism, in China and elsewhere: a family tragedy in the form of a documentary, as full of anger, dignity and pathos as a play by Arthur Miller."

9. Secret Sunshine (Lee Chang-dong) "A family tragedy from South Korea, in the form of a melodramatic crime story. As dense and gripping as a great novel."

10. Exit Through the Gift Shop (Banksy) "All of the above. None of the above. Everything and nothing. An elaborate art-world stunt in the form of a documentary. Or vice versa."

Some very interesting selections on Scott's list this year, but that's what makes him such a unique critic that still remains incredibly relevant today. I'm surprised to not see The Social Network (which has been topping a lot of lists recently) on here or any other mainsteam hard-hitters like Black Swan, The King's Speech, Blue Valentine or even Inception. He does explain why, by also taking a jab at the film: "It was more fun to read the impassioned, geeky arguments about Inception than to endure a second viewing of that film." Scott also talks about how all of the discussion The Social Network caused was a lot more riveting than the film itself. I won't agree, but that's just me and I've got my own Top 10 list in the works, too. Thoughts on his picks?

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Reader Feedback - 24 Comments


Greenberg FTW!

Lauren on Dec 16, 2010


cross-generational back to back to back.

freudian slip on Dec 16, 2010


No Social Network or Inception? oh well This is just a little off topic but despite only being my 5th favorite movie of the year, I want Toy Story 3 to win the best picture oscar, I just feel it deserves it the most. But it will probably go to Social Network, which is great because thats my favorite movie of the year.

John.E on Dec 16, 2010


Sorry...except for Toy Story 3 and Inside Job I don't want to see ANY of these films. Besides, the critic should have waited another week after Tron Legacy comes out.

Big Biskit on Dec 16, 2010


Sure is pretentious in here.

Name (required) on Dec 16, 2010


the critics continually prove one thing...critics are a joke

Jericho on Dec 16, 2010


10. Exit Through the Gift Shop was just plain boring and stupid, and really had nothing to do with Bansky, but some shitty artist. And I don't care for those other movies. TS3 wasn't bad though...

Chad on Dec 16, 2010


Ah. The Famous Snodberry list of the best film of 2010. Mere mortals would not comprehend the shear genius behind them, the inner meaning within a meaning wrapped in another meaning. Bravo, my snide little NY hipster. Bravo.

uberman on Dec 16, 2010


its kind of funny that almost all his picks are films that didnt have wide realeses

rowdy on Dec 16, 2010


"Besides, the critic should have waited another week after Tron Legacy comes out." This is hilarious.

Dave on Dec 17, 2010


I never even heard of any of them except toy story 3. whats so good about indie anyways? they are so boring and nobody watches them. Iron Man 2 is better than everything on that list.

damien94 on Dec 17, 2010


@11 Eh, you just insulted every independent artist there is... Just because they're not that well known doesn't mean they're crap. Often the opposite.

Nat on Dec 17, 2010


While I can't argue with this list, I really wish Black Swan showed up.

Haz on Dec 17, 2010


Exit Through The Gift Shop was brilliant. Enter The Void, however, was the most brilliant film of 2010.

norm on Dec 17, 2010


@8 LOL and i completly agree

T on Dec 17, 2010


This list is the reason I can't read the NY Times. #8 sums it up...

Trip on Dec 17, 2010


"Iron Man 2 is better than everything on that list." This is also hilarious.

bbmcrae on Dec 17, 2010


127 Hours - Epic Good.

Knawx on Dec 17, 2010


Every movie on that list is so "eccentric" and "cross-generational" in that they all give us a "melodramatic" vision on any form of "capitalism" there is. And "tragedy" is also a good word to use on your movie reviews. Seriously, this list is the most pretentious thing I've ever read on this site. This is why I hate movie critics, instead of actually writing a fair and objective critic about a movie, they are so frustrated because they never had one of their scripts approved that they try to be so elitist and use this pretentious words that, in the end, mean nothing to someone who's just deciding on which movie to see that night. @Damien94: I love indie films, there are some really gems out there, you just have to find them. Assuming you were born in 1994, maybe you're too young to like them, give it time. Try to see those that have generated more buzz around them first (maybe try to go for Sundance winners). But you don't have to go over-the-top and only like the way too indie/alternative/experimental movies like almost all critics seem to think they should. It's like watching a movie at a festival. You just realize that at one point or the other people laugh just because they feel like they should, because it's hip to laugh at these alternative movies that "no one else gets".

Ricardo on Dec 17, 2010


Still need to see "Inside Job" and "Somewhere" but this is a pretty solid list imo. I am glad it wasnt predictable as Shutter Island and now I can view the trailers of the films I havent heard of to see if they look interesting to me. My list: in no order Social Network Inception 127 Hours the Kids are Alright Exit Through The Gift Shop TS3 Four Lions Scott Pilgrim vs The World Black Swan You Dont Know Jack (HBO Film)

Jacob Crim on Dec 17, 2010


toy story 4 life!

A5J4DX on Dec 17, 2010


And thats why they are call "Film critics" instead of "Film analysts"

Elijah on Dec 17, 2010


Ugh. "Greenberg"!? I hated that film. And while I love Lisa Cholodenko's other work, I found "The Kids Are All Right" to be so heavy handed. I also couldn't stand the two lead characters. Bening's best acting this year was in "Mother and Child". Not this. And it's also the best work she's done in years.

Film Fan on Dec 17, 2010


because there is so much short hand criticism (eg stars..thumbs..tomatoes) to most, the meaning of "criticism" has been homogenised to just mean subjective taste. "I like I don't like" Scott choices are not prententious-he's looking at film as an wider art form-- as any other Times reporters would and should examine dance, music, performance--which means looking beyond just the American mainstream market. That doesn't mean the American mainstream can't produce quality. Toy story 3 is a perfect example Last Train home is a remarkable film and should be noted. If you want to speak of pretentious than start with Inception--visually stunning but intentionally confusing to make audience "think" they are seeing something with a deeper meaning--that's pretentious.

Dougo162 on Dec 21, 2010

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